Have you ever had one of those times in your life when you get this song stuck in your head and you cannot seem to shake it? Ok, so it is not even a whole song. It is just one line from The Wizard of Oz. The Cowardly Lion sings the line when he is thinking about how different his life would be if he had courage. He starts off by singing “If I were king of the forest.” How often do we think to ourselves, if I were king of queen of the forest, I would do X in my life. I know I have played the what if version in a number of different ways in my life. If I were X, then I would do Y. If I were president, then I would do X.
My guess is that in many of us there is some aspect of the Cowardly Lion’s personality that lives and has taken up varying degrees of residence in our minds, spirits, and souls. What kept the cowardly lion from living his dreams of what he could be was his lack of courage. Courage is that quality in our lives that allows us to stretch beyond the boundaries that fear places around our personal and spiritual evolution.
Spiritual courage is not about trying to fix a situation; it is about having the courage to fix one’s self. Whether or not you choose to heal those aspects of your personality that need to be healed has to do with your intent. Do you intend to evolve or revolve? Do you intend to continue to sing, “If I were king/queen of the forest” or are you at a place where you are ready to sing a new song “Because I am king/queen of the forest.”
Sometimes one of the hardest things to do is take responsibility for one’s feelings, experiences, and actions. It is to much easier to say we are hurting because of what someone did to us then to take responsibility for what we are feeling in relationship to an experience. For example, one of the most traumatic experiences in my life was being gang raped as a teenager. I am not saying I am responsible for what happened; I am not. However, I am responsible for what I have done with the feelings associated with that event. It took me several years to work through all my feelings. However, my intent in my healing across the years has been to evolve and grow through the experience. This event happened almost 41 years ago. As long as I was carrying the fear and trauma from it inside of me, I was allowing it to continue to violate me on a continuous basis. Once I found the courage to release the fears that I internalized because of the gang rape, I was able to tap into some of the stronger and more loving parts of my personality. It opened me up to experiences of love that I had placed off limits to myself out of fear.
Courage requires integrity. Integrity requires that we listen to our conscience. Many years ago, I found this quote on a calendar that read, “Honesty is more than just not being dishonest. It is an active choice to be responsible for the choices we make before we act upon them so that we can stand up for them and not be tempted to be dishonest.” I have to think about my intent before I say and do something so that I can have the integrity to do that, which is going to help me evolve. For example, I have a friend who loves to talk. Not necessarily because they have anything of importance to say, but they have this need to be in control of the situation. I, on the other hand, tend to be quiet in group settings and at times have felt as if I have nothing to say. While my friend has had to find the courage to be silent in certain situations, I have had to find the courage to speak in similar situations. Although, we seem to be doing two completely different things, we are both doing the same thing – living our lives with integrity and finding the courage within to do so.
Courage also means that we find the internal power to say and or do the difficult things in our lives. My guess is that each of us has found ourselves in situations where we have stayed out of fear. Perhaps you wanted to say something, but you were afraid that what you said was going to hurt someone’s feelings, so you remained quiet. How many times, have you wanted to tell someone something and did not? For example, at one time in my life, I was acquainted with someone who would have these unexpected fits of anger that frightened me. For years, I was too afraid to say or do anything because of their role in my life. Eventually I found the internal power to tell this person that their anger frightened me. This was a pivotal moment in my life. When I stepped forward in courage and confronted the one thing, which scared me the most, I found myself with a new found respect and love for myself. While this action resulted in my ending this relationship and relationships with others who were associated with this person also coming to an end, I knew that I was no longer the Cowardly Lioness and was no acting out of a more loving and courageous aspect of my personality.
I wish I could say that making a commitment to courage is a one-time event, but it is not. Our spiritual evolution is ongoing. Our commitment to evolving and revolving is ongoing. Our commitment to know that we are the kings and queens of the forest and we have the courage to heal is ongoing.
Is it time for you to sing a new song in your life?